Dr. Lauren Pearlman is a historian of 20th century America. Her research traces the ways that law and order affects urban policy and governance in the 20th century. She received her PhD from Yale University and currently serves as an associate professor in the History Department at the University of Florida. Her first book, Democracy’s Capital: Black Political Power in Washington, D.C., 1960s-1970s (University of North Carolina Press, Fall 2019), narrates the struggle for self-determination in the nation’s capital.
It captures the transition from black protest to black political power under the Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon administrations and against the backdrop of local battles over the War on Poverty and the War on Crime. Dr. Pearlman’s research has received support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the American Historical Association, and the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation, among others. Prior to joining UF, she was a teaching fellow at Rowan University and a postdoctoral fellow in American History and Diversity Studies at the United States Military Academy at West Point, where she developed The West Point Guide to the Civil Rights Movement, a digital media primary document-based reader on the long civil rights movement. Her work can also be found in the Journal of Urban History, Washington History, the Journal of African American History, and the Washington Post.
Her next book project, The Security State: The Rise of Private Security Industries in Post-World War II America, explores the birth of private security firms, prisons, immigration detention centers, military contracts, and security training companies. In doing so, it seeks to deepen our understanding of the links between police terror, criminalization, mass incarceration, and deportation in the United States.